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Sara Caswell is an American violinist who has worked with 9 Horses, Esperanza Spalding,[1] and David Krakauer.

Sara Caswell
Caswell with her violin and Hardanger d'amore
Background information
Born(1978-02-21)February 21, 1978
Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.
GenresJazz, classical, experimental
InstrumentsViolin, Hardanger fiddle
LabelsSunnyside, Arbors
Associated acts9 Horses, Joseph Brent, Esperanza Spalding, David Krakauer, Roseanna Vitro, Rose & the Nightingale



Caswell with 9 Horses (l-r Caswell, Andrew Ryan, Joseph Brent

Born into a musical family in Bloomington, Indiana,[2] Caswell studied classical violin with Josef Gingold, but from an early age she became interested in jazz and learned from Indiana University professor David Baker,[3] violinist John Blake Jr.,[4] and trumpeter Patrick Harbison.

After finishing her degrees at Indiana and the Manhattan School of Music, she moved to New York City in the early 2000s at the behest Skitch Henderson, conductor of The New York Pops. She formed a jazz quartet with guitarist Jesse Lewis, bassist Ike Sturm, and drummer Jared Schonig. She also led a group with her sister, vocalist Rachel Caswell. She has taught at the Manhattan School of Music[5] and Berklee College of Music.

In 2010, Caswell began performing with Esperanza Spalding's Chamber Music Society, an ensemble featuring rhythm section and string trio, and was on tour promoting the Chamber Music Society recording when Spalding won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.[6] Her work on Roseanna Vitro's album, The Music of Randy Newman, was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011 in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category. She was named a Rising Star in the Critics' Poll at Down Beat magazine in 2013 and 2014, and she was chosen among the top jazz violinists in the Readers' Poll at JazzTimes magazine in 2011 and 2012.

In 2013, she founded the ensemble 9 Horses with mandolinist Joseph Brent and bassist Shawn Conley. Their debut album, Perfectest Herald, was released on Sunnyside Records in October 2015.

Caswell is a 2018 GRAMMY Award nominee in the category of Best Improvised Jazz Solo.[7]

Caswell plays a violin by Stefano Scarampella and a Hardanger d'amore made for her by Salve Håkedal in 2013.


  • First Song (Double-Time, 2000)
  • But Beautiful (Arbors, 2005)
  • Alive in the Singing Air, Caswell Sisters (Turtle Ridge, 2014)

With 9 Horses

  • Joe Brent & Sara Caswell (2013)
  • Perfectest Herald (Sunnyside, 2015)

With Skitch Henderson

  • Swinging With Strings (2001)
  • Legends (2003)

With Cynthia Sayer

  • Attractions (2007)
  • Joyride (2013)

With Roseanna Vitro

  • Clarity: Music of Clare Fischer (2013)
  • The Music of Randy Newman (2011)

With others

  • Monika Herzig, Melody Without Words (2000)[8]
  • Rachel Caswell, Some Other Time (2003)
  • Jessica Elbert, Aniage (2006)
  • Bucky Pizzarelli, So Hard to Forget (2008)
  • Ike Sturm, Jazz Mass (2008)
  • JaLaLa, The Old Mercer Magic! (2009)
  • Oran Etkin, Kelenia (2009)
  • Alan Ferber, Music for Nonet and Strings: Chamber Songs (2010)
  • Krista Detor, Chocolate Paper Suites (2010)
  • Nadje Noordhuis, Nadje Noordhuis (2010)
  • Jack Wilkins, The Blue & Green Project (2011)
  • Rose & the Nightingale, Spirit of the Garden (2012)
  • Billy Martin, Wandering Music (2013)
  • Lauren Kinhan, Circle in a Square (2014)
  • Kishi Bashi, String Quartet Live! (2015)
  • Brad Mehldau, Finding Gabriel
  • Russ Kaplan, The Ulysses Cycle (2013)


  1. ^ Johnson, David (11 March 2011). "Sara Caswell: No Bieber Blues On Esperanza Spalding Tour". Arts and Music - Indiana Public Media. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Endowments & Scholarships: Giving: Jacobs School of Music: Indiana University Bloomington". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Jacobs alumna Sara Caswell featured in Strings" magazine". 23 August 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  4. ^ Chilton, Martin (20 August 2014). "John Blake Jr, jazz violinist, dies aged 67". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Manhattan School of Music > FacultyProfile". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  6. ^ Jarenwattananon, Patrick (14 February 2011). "Who Is Esperanza Spalding, Best New Artist?". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Billboard > FacultyProfile". Retrieved 28 November 2017. External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ Sara Caswell|Credits|AllMusic AllMusic

External linksEdit